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Business & Climate Stories

Food, Farms & Freshwater
3F

Sustainable Business Development
2015 - Current

 

RhysMillar@ahika.co.nz
0273 877 866

 

Ahika is all about valuing our unique place in the world and this collaborative project is all about enhancing business practice to look after our place.

Ahika has teamed up with Mike Barton, farmer and co-founder of Taupō Beef and Natasha Garvan, a Resource Management Lawyer to create 3F.

Our 3F vision is for New Zealand and international consumers to value and choose food products that support farmers to farm more sustainably, with the result that water quality and biodiversity are restored in New Zealand within two generations.
For our vision to become a reality we need to create transformative change across the supply chain for agriculturally based food products, and significantly improve New Zealand’s environment. The first key step is for Food, Farms and Freshwater (3F) to create and communicate a new environmental standard and verification system for farming.  We want this standard to deliver swimmable and fishable water. The system will be designed to be cost-effective and easy to use, and also able to credibly withstand consumer and competitor scrutiny. Our aim is that farmers who meet the standard (verified through auditing) will receive a premium from processors/retailers/consumers to enable them to reinvest in environmental services, and incentivise change for other farmers.

The second step is to grow the market for superior quality food products that meet this standard. This is necessary to provide greater incentives and funds for farmers to deliver swimmable and fishable freshwater. Following this, it will be necessary to grow the supply of food that meets the 3F standard. This will ensure that the market is consistently satisfied and that processors or other groups of farmers can more securely invest in creating and promoting brands that meet and use the 3F environmental standard.

3F intends to establish itself as a charitable trust, with the aim to create a business model to become a self-sustaining social enterprise as soon as it is viable to do so

 
 
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Inner City Residential Recycling

Project Management & Implementation
Completed 2017

 

NikiBould@ahika.co.nz
0212 548 928

 

Ahika works towards assisting at any level with all things sustainable.  Waste just happens to be one of our favourite topics.

Dunedin has had kerbside recycling since 2009.  However, residential properties within the CBD area, that range from being stand-alone houses, apartment buildings to multi-tenanted residential/ commercial properties, are located on upper floors of buildings with little or no off street service area available for the collection of waste and recycling.

Based on a survey the Dunedin City Council (DCC) conducted in the CBD area and direct feedback from residential customers, a neighbourhood recycling drop-off facility has been developed.  Many residents indicated that they would be willing to walk up to two blocks to a drop off point.  Two areas are being targeted for a 12 month pilot programme.  The pilot recycling facilities will be located south of the Octagon, one under the Cumberland St over bridge at Jetty Street and the other on Moray Place opposite the bottom of View St.

Ahika worked closely with the Dunedin City Council's Solid Waste team and Dunedin company ZealSteel to project manage the design and install of the two neighbourhood recycling drop-off facilities.  The first to be completed is the Moray Place facility which provides a place for inner-city residents to get rid of recyclable waste.  Vogel St residential recycling facility is due to be complete at the end of July 2017.

Shared Business Recycling Scheme

Project Management & Implementation
Completed 2017

 

NikiBould@ahika.co.nz
0212 548 928

 

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - a great first step. Here at Ahika, we believe the "c"s will make lasting positive change, for example: collaboration, creative contributions, critical (and systems) thinking, appreciating consequences, clear communication (i.e. transparency) building communities, respecting culture and above all – having a sense of care".

Ahika worked closely with the Dunedin City Council (DCC) Solid Waste team to re-design the free twice a week cardboard collection service in the CBD and South Dunedin.  The improved service keeps cardboard off the busiest sections of the main city streets through collaboration and bringing small communities of businesses together to share facilities.  Property owners, businesses and the DCC have been working closely together to identify off-street locations suitable for cardboard bin collection points.  Twenty five of these shared facilities are tucked away in Dunedin's nooks and crannies, out of sight of pedestrians and tourists but accessible to businesses and DCC's contractor.

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Biochar in Vineyards Experiment

Research & Analysis
Completed 2014

 

RhysMillar@ahika.co.nz
0273 877 866

 

This project sought to explore new ways of enhancing environmentally sustainable crop production while concurrently reducing carbon emissions, all things that we love to do here at Ahika - providing benefits for local producers and for the planet.

Everyone loves Central Otago Pinot Noir.  However, the free draining, poorly structured and low fertility soils that underpin this unique crop provide significant challenges to viticulturists.  Irrigation and the application of nutrient often underpin the production of this famous wine.   Alongside NZ Biochar Ltd and Mt Difficulty wines we decided to explore the viability and role of biochar as a soil amendment in Central Otago vineyards.  Biochar is charcoal that is made from biomass via pyrolysis, and is proven to sequester carbon, providing negative carbon dioxide emissions.

A two-year experiment showed that utilising vineyard waste as compost material and integrating this with Biochar provided a soil amendment that increases available soil organic matter and nutrients.  Results showed that compost increased soil nutrient levels significantly and that biochar caused small positive synergistic effects over the two seasons.  Both biochar and compost caused significant increases of up to 30% in plant available water. These effects are likely to have practical benefits for grape production as well as for other crops grown on similar soil types in the region. These results highlight the potential to use biochar in this environment both to increase sustainability and to reduce carbon emissions.

 
 
 

Carbon Management

Management & Advice
Completed 2012

 

RhysMillar@ahika.co.nz
0273 877 866

 

At Ahika, we assist farmers, who are directly reliant on natural resources, to manage risk by building resilience into their farming system.

Rissington Breedline Ltd commissioned Rhys (as Forest Environments Ltd) to develop a guide to assist farmers understand the benefits of carbon management on their own properties.  The pamphlet outlines how farmers can identify the indicative carbon emission and carbon sequestration levels on their farm, how they can calculate their own carbon footprint and how to compare the results to the industry average and also offering advice as to how different farming operations compare.  The guide also offered advice as how to analyse various different land-use scenarios of action that enable good carbon management decision making practices, how to identify the impact of on-farm carbon offset programmes and how the effects of the carbon status of the farm and clarifying how small-scale afforestation can allow farmers to hedge against carbon price fluctuations, providing them with a return on investment from timber production, and build a more resilient land.

 

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Local Voluntary Carbon Scheme

Management & Advice
Completed 2012

 

RhysMillar@ahika.co.nz
0273 877 866

 

The effects of climate change (we would rather call it climate chaos) are being felt around the world as well as in our own backyards, hence, understanding how voluntary schemes might work is core to our work in helping to mitigate climate change.

 

We were wondering whether a local voluntary carbon scheme could or would work in Dunedin, so when the Otago Polytechnic also arrived at the same question we joined forces to tackle the problem together.

The first part of this project involved market research, seeking to understand the likely market demand for a voluntary carbon market and the profile of the participants and stakeholders.  This research informed the feasibility study.

The purpose of the study was to determine the potential for a local carbon scheme.  Informed by the market research, a feasibility study was subsequently completed.  The feasibility study discusses the most suitable organisational framework and processes to enable a functioning local carbon market, and the type of verification systems needed to make the transactions viable.  Lastly, this project has made recommendations to inform the development of a business model to effectively progress the proposed solutions.

 
 

Carbon Free Conference
for Deer NZ

Management & Advice
Completed 2012

 

LloydMcGinty@ahika.co.nz
021 202 2172

 

Bringing people into our city to discuss a wide range of social, environmental or economic issues is a great way of sharing knowledge and best practice but it doesn’t have to cost the earth- we offer assistance in creating carbon-free conferences.

Ahika provided services to assess and offset carbon emissions resulting from the Deer NZ conference held in May 2012. The methodology used was in accordance with The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (ISO 14064).  The scope of this project was to offset those emissions not covered by the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS).

To effectively represent the voluntary emissions only, an inventory boundary is placed around the emissions generated from key conference activities, such as food and beverage consumption, manufacture and transports of delegate gift bags, waste generated and air travel for conference speakers.

The carbon emissions from these activities are then calculated based on benchmark emissions factors[1] and are reported to show their overall contribution to the conference carbon footprint.  The total amount of carbon emissions is then offset by purchasing and surrendering carbon credits.

[1] Guidance for Voluntary Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reporting 2010